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A Phone Call Home Makes All the Difference

A young female teacher wearing glasses is at her desk smiling and on the phone.

 

You don’t have to reserve phone calls to parents or guardians for bad news. Try these tips to deepen communication with families.

With all the pressure that comes with being a first-year teacher, reaching out to parents early in the year can feel like your lowest priority. But building relationships with parents can set you and your students on a path to success, and it can save time in the longer run.

My biggest mistake was that I waited to make those calls. I was young and nervous. Once I did start calling, I quickly learned what a valuable resource parent and guardian support can be. And I was asked several times, “Why didn’t you call sooner?”

Calling does take time, though. If you call six homes and talk for 10 to 15 minutes, the time can add up. But making a phone call or two at the end of the day—or during lunch, or on the weekend—is well worth it. Harvard education researchers Matthew Kraft and Shaun Dougherty discovered numerous benefits of teachers phoning students’ homes: “Frequent teacher-family communication immediately increased student engagement.... On average, teacher-family communication increased the odds that students completed their homework by 40 percent, decreased instances in which teachers had to redirect students’ attention to the task at hand by 25 percent, and increased class participation rates by 15 percent.”

 Read about:

Calling Parents With Concerns and Issues

Calling With Good News

Sending Texts and Emails

Invite Family Members Into Your Classroom

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